Government of India’s Cloud Initiative

It’s an era of “virtualization”, ”any time any where services’,  and “delivery on demand network”. Cloud computing, a new paradigm of service delivery, is essentially a model in which dynamically scalable and virtualized information is delivered on-demand over the network by a pay-per-use model.

While we all concord that many consumers and enterprises have already embarked upon the journey of cloud to gain economic advantages and operational benefits of agility & flexibility, at the same time, the road map for cloud adoption by our Government has also laid down some positive signs.

Government is transitioning rapidly in terms of delivering various services to its citizens through technology enabled solutions, however, it is yet to spread its wings completely towards adoption of cloud in its eGovernance initiatives. Many government agencies across the country are now providing a host of e- services to their citizens. Further, as cloud reduces the footprint of IT infrastructure, these Government agencies would be free to concentrate on the effectiveness of various programs run by them and less on the management of IT. Henceforth, it becomes an important area where Indian Government has to prioritize adoption of Cloud for accelerating eGovernance initaitives.

The accelerated adoption of IT in Government, is now uniquely positioned to gain innumerable benefits from this growing technology – Cloud computing. There is an immense opportunity for Government and Industry to partner, to drive adoption of cloud in India and also grow India into a major hub for delivering Cloud Services. Cloud computing has also been identified as one of the thrust areas in the proposed National IT Policy.

To harness the benefits of cloud, Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) of Government of India has taken an ambitious project termed as ‘GI Cloud’. The ‘GI Cloud’ is the Government of India’s initiative to enable government (both Centre and States) to leverage cloud computing for effective delivery of e-services.

At the implementation front, NASSCOM in partnership with Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) organized an open house consultation with Government and Industry last year.  Additionally, NASSCOM has also orchestrated the consultation with a wide cross section of Cloud Service Providers and eGovernance Service Providers to gain their opinions.

DeitY prepared a multipronged strategy to adopt cloud computing and two committees were setup for the purpose:

  • GI-Cloud Task Force under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary (eGovernance) – The focus of this Task Force is to propose policy, guidelines and roadmap for ‘Government as a user of cloud computing’
  • Cloud Working Group headed by Shri. Kris Gopalakrishnan – The focus of this Working Group is to work out the recommendations for a comprehensive framework by the Government for adoption of Cloud in the country (taking into account the policies and standards relating to jurisdiction, cross-border data flow, data security, data location etc)

As part of the first committee, i.e. GI-Cloud Task Force, NASSCOM has been closely working with DeitY in a collaborative process, with a broad cross section of Industry Members, to enable Cloud Technologies getting adopted in eGovernance. The objective is to ensure provisioning of eGov Solutions and development of new Cloud enabled solutions in eGovernance

Further to these discussions, 2 interesting reports on Cloud – ‘GI Cloud Strategic Direction Paper’ and ‘GI Cloud Adoption and Implementation Roadmap’ have also been prepared by DeitY with inputs from the GI Cloud Task Force. The focus of these reports is to define the policy directions and roadmap for government to leverage the benefits of cloud by utilizing existing infrastructure or through augmentation of the same.

  • “Report 1 – GI-Cloud Strategic Direction Paper” highlights the key government ICT infrastructure components that are already in place to act as the building blocks for the envisaged GI Cloud. It introduces the potential risks and challenges of GI Cloud and identifies its key drivers and benefits.
  • “Report 2 – GI-Cloud Adoption and Implementation Roadmap” talks about the GI Cloud Ecosystem.  The eco-system section of the GI Cloud identifies the major actors, their activities and roles in the envisaged cloud computing environment.

As a partner to this process, NASSCOM is now planning to host an Open House between Industry members and DeitY to finalize the reports and collaborate further on this project. The involvement of eminent group of leaders across the industry is very important to make this project a huge success, hence, we would like to invite all the big techies to share their valuable insights as how we can take this journey to the next desired level.

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